Share a Shot for Giving Tuesday

December 2, 2013

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Just in time for #GivingTuesday I want to share with you a creative new way to help give your voice and your talent, to give kids a shot at the happy healthy life they deserve. My friend and fellow Shot@Life champion Ciaran Blumenfeld have come up with a way to share our “snaps” to help spread the word about the “shots” that so many kids need to protect them from the preventable diseases that have the potential to kill them. Imagine if you thought you might lose your children to a common childhood illness like diarrhea. I know. I can’t imagine either! Because we don’t think any mother should suffer the loss of a child at all, let alone from a preventable disease, we need your help.

Please help us bring awareness to the important work that Shot@Life is doing by tagging your Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest “snaps” with the hashtag #snapshotatlife. Take it a small step further and mention our Instagram account as well (@snapshotatlife) so people can follow along and more importantly easily find the link to our Snapshotatlife team fundraising page where we are collecting donations to support the cause and vaccinate the kids who are at the greatest risk of dying from diseases like Rotavirus, Pneumonia, Measles and Polio. Won’t you join the team?

And speaking of donations, I am giddy to share something amazing! Ciaran is donating $500 to Shot@Life on behalf of the Snapshotatlife team. Yes, $500! You have got to pop over to read her Smile it Forward post. How crazy awesome and super generous is that? Talk about giving us something to smile about. $500 translates to 25 kids immunized for life! Amazing and totally inspiring. Thank you Ciaran (and Invisalign).

All that to say, I hope you consider shooting and sharing your “snaps” with us by tagging your everyday pictures (of family, friends moments and memories) with the tag #snapshotatlife and on this fine Giving Tuesday consider giving What you can to help immunize a child who deserves to live a happy. healthy life. We’ll be sharing photos, raising awareness and funds for the rest of 2013. Help us make a difference!


Picture the Holidays with Me

November 20, 2013

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It’s that time of year again; time to Picture the Holidays! Won’t you join me? I’ve renewed and refreshed the prompts this year so even if you’ve taken it in the past, I promise there will be all kinds of new ways to capture the season. Plus, spending time with the amazing women that gather in the Picture Series classes is the most fun ever!

Pop over to Big Picture Classes for registration info. I do hope to see you in class!


Feeling Lightheaded (in the best way) with a Lightheaded Beds Giveaway

November 4, 2013

The Glow of Lightheaded Beds

I’m big on sleep. As in, bordering on the obsessed. Since the start of my adult life, I have been a huge sleep advocate. From afternoon naps to sleeping in late whenever possible, sleep for me has always felt like the best gift I could give myself. I distinctly remember driving across country in my 20s and taking every opportunity to sack out in the back of the VW bus, as I listened to my best friend say, “I can’t believe you’re sleeping through this”.  But, I didn’t let that stop me. I just, unapologetically fell asleep.

Many years later I had my first child and the patterned continued. Not as much for me and my sleep, but for hers.  Ever since then, my family can attest that sleep has become one of my main motherhood “things”. Since my kids we’re just babies through today, I have fixated on the importance of sleep, doing everything in my power to keep to any shred of a sleep schedule that I could grasp. For some parents it might be food, for others maybe play, but for me, it is and probably always will be sleep. From keeping track of napping hours to being vigilant about regular bed times, I have been a mother on a mission to ensure my kids are getting the sleep they need, and maybe even more than they need. I did admit it borders obsession after all.

Once my daughter started High School I had to start letting go of my tight grip on her sleep schedule. Freshman year was a huge transition for all of us, with my teen’s busy schedule, rigorous homework load and never ever enough time in the day for her to get it all done. So, the days turned into nights—late, late nights—and I had to helplessly watch as she slowly weaned herself off of the sleep routine I had pushed so hard to set. It wasn’t easy, but I had no choice. And now, as she’s headlong into her Junior year, it’s just as bad, if not worse as on many nights I go to bed long before she does, although I will admit it still pains me to do so. At least now, she’ll sleep in on weekends (when she doesn’t have something going on) and she’ll nap whenever possible (I believe she might be coming around to my way of thinking).

Thankfully, I am still able to somewhat regulate the sleep schedule of my 10-year-old which now I know will be short lived. Alas, I will do what I can when I can. Viva la Sleep!

It would stand to figure when I was recently given the opportunity to give my girls the experience of new—and awesome—Lightheaded Beds, I was pretty excited. My draw to Lightheaded Beds is obvious to anyone who knows me. Beyond the emphasis on style and variety of the beds themselves (beds, headboards, footboards, storage) they feature the coolest way to feature photographic images IN the headboard of the bed itself. I know, it’s brilliant, right? For sure one of those, “why didn’t I think of that?” inventions. Anytime I can “create my own” anything and use my own photography it’s a plus! And it’s not only the photo part that I love, it’s the glowing nightlight part that made it that much more awesome.  Sure, I have a teenager than doesn’t sleep as often as I wish she would, but with her new Lightheaded Bed, she can be in bed while studying, reading, using her laptop, ipad, iphone with this beautiful glowing photography (her beloved NY at night skyline that I shot on a recent trip) illuminating her as she works and eventually drifts off to sleep. Yes, there is a timer that can be set for the light to go out all by itself. Swoon. If you don’t have your own photos to use, but you love the whole idea of a Lightheaded Bed, you can order from their huge selection of options right from their website.

As for my 10-year-old, this is one of the best beds I could have ever asked for for her, mainly because of her love (and need) of a nightlight. The glow of her photo (a shot I took of the Disney World skyline on our visit) not only comforts her but helps ease her to sleep. One of the most exciting things about this bed for her (and I would imagine children even younger than her) is not just the choice of what photo she can display but having her very own remote control where she can set the strength of the light and the timer, all by herself. It’s pretty sweet.

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Want to check out a Lightheaded Bed for yourself? Besides being available online, Lightheaded Beds are now available at your local Sam’s Club. Coolio!

And drumroll please…as a part of this sponsored post, Lightheaded Beds in partnership with Today’s Mama is offering an awesome giveaway right here on my blog so that YOU can win your own Canterbury style Lightheaded Bed in white or chestnut and a coupon for a few photos of your own or from their library of options. Huzzah! You’ve got 2 weeks from today to enter. And hint: for a way to get an extra entry,  just follow Your’s Truly on Instagram. Easy-peasy.
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Good luck!!


Collages from The Click Retreat

October 13, 2013

Back from an excellent adventure in the Outer Banks I am, like always, already diving headlong into life as I left it. Being with my family, getting back into the usual routine, and catching up on work that has piled up while I was away. But, I promised more photos and I certainly have them so I wanted to share before I get swept up in the things that often keep me too busy to get photos uploaded.

Needless to say, The Click Retreat was amazing as best illustrated by some of my favorite iPhone images of the week. Here you’ll get a glimpse of just some of the awesome ladies that were there, a small visual snippet of the magic that happened in the two gorgeous beach houses that stood side by side on the Atlantic, and the uniquely beautiful landscape that surrounds them.

The Click Retreat 2013From LAX to ORF by way of Southwest Airlines. Love being welcomed by the LOVE sign at the Norfolk Airport.

The Click Retreat 2013My dear friend Ali Edwards  and I totally windblown (have you seen the video??), a view into our room and the view from the house.

The Click Retreat 2013Me and the hostess with the mostess, Today’s Mama Rachael Herrscher, Click friends and I making memories on our Wild Horses excursion, signs of the weather with this shot of me nearly blowing off the balcony by none other than Erin Oltmanns of Today’s Mama.

The Click Retreat 2013Print of us by HP who announced HP Create,  on fabric by Spoonflower, darling beach house print by Alma Loveland, Casey Mullins and I with hand-made mustaches made by Marie-LeBaron, and me and Me Ra Koh (who brought the magic of Sony with her) catching up and enjoying the sunshine.

The Click Retreat 2013Ambiance and parties o’plenty, sponsored by Southwest Airlines and Avery.

Thank you Today’s Mama and all of the creative and generous sponsors at The Click Retreat. What an experience! I loved every minute of it.


Seeing in a New Way with my Lensbaby

October 11, 2013
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The brave and beautiful Casey Mullins

I’ve been lucky enough to have spent the last few days on the beautiful coast of North Carolina on Islands known as The Outer Banks. I’ll admit, before this trip, I had no idea where or what The Outer Banks were so for me, being here, learning about the history, seeing this amazing landscape, and yes, even being at the whim of what they’ve referred to as a Nor’easter (of which may or may not be true) has been an enlightening and inspiring experience. And I haven’t even mentioned the fabulous company I’ve been in. The Click Retreat, hosted by Rachel Herrscher and team of Today’s Mama in collaboration with The Outer Banks Visitor Bureau has been every bit as wonderful as the location. From some of my favorite people to awesome brands, the Click Retreat has been a blast. I’ll be sharing more of the fun later. As for now, I’m really glad I brought my Lensbaby Composer with the Superwide converter. It’s been fun to experiment, play and capture the mood of the tumulus Atlantic Ocean like this. Sometimes a change of scenery can be a creative and refreshing breath of fresh air. Or in this case a gale wind. Either way, I’ve been inspired.

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It’s Not Easy Being Teen

September 26, 2013

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Sometimes I just cannot believe I have a teenager. I’ve always kind of felt like being a parent in general was surreal but, as time passes, the feeling only intensifies. I often find myself wondering how the heck I got here, how does time move so fast and how it’s possible that my child will soon be off to college. It just doesn’t seem real. And yet, here I am. Here we are.

With all the scary messages out there about how horrible, trying, difficult teenagers can be, I guess I was expecting the worst. I feel fortunate that it really hasn’t been much like what I had heard (knocking on wood). That’s not to say parenting at this stage doesn’t have challenges. But still, it’s not what I was anticipating. In fact, it’s way cooler than I ever thought it would be. And, I think my daughter feels the same way about her teenage years. Sure there’s the quintessential “issues” that are somewhat Universal to the teen experience, but I think she’s putting those into a healthy perspective as she pans out to the bigger picture of  her life’s journey. Not an easy thing to do for anyone, let along a teenager. I give her major props for that!

Last night, at yet another back to school night, my husband and I traipsed around her high school stomping grounds getting the scoop on what is her daily life. It was the 3rd time we’ve attended as my daughter is a junior now (see? I have no idea how that happened) but even as high school veterans, it still totally amazes/bewilders/eludes me. Tracing her steps from building to building, walking the paths, passing through the architecture, sitting in the seats and staring at the walls of her life outside of home is never lost on me. As I listened to each teacher’s jam-packed presentation, tried to keep up with the power points, and took notes of anything I felt like might be of importance for future reference, I couldn’t help but think how hard it must be to be in high school now. With so much academic pressure, so many extra-curricular expectations , and so much  responsibility to keep it all together. They are having to live in the present while focusing on the future, all the time. And that’s not even mentioning the social pressures. We all remember that. From navigating friends to communicating with teachers to hyper-active hormones, it just can’t be easy.

It’s really no wonder then that things can get dicey at home. I get stressed out just watching my teen live her life. True, I might be a little more involved than I have to be (my husband tries to remind me to take a step back for my sake and hers) but even still, I can hardly keep up with her and everything that she’s got to squeeze in every day,  and it’s not even my life. I know that she’s exhausted and often pushed over-capacity. I know that when I get frustrated with her for forgetting things, staying up late, waking up late, wasting her time, it doesn’t help. At all. I know she is doing the best she can under overwhelming expectations.  Which is why that even when I’m fuming mad at 11pm waiting for her to get released from musical theater rehearsal, I try to remember that she needs me. When she calls in the middle of the day in a panic that she forgot her homework on the printer, she needs me. When wakes me, home late from an evening with friends and she wants to tell me all about it over tea, she needs me. For help, for support, for understanding, for guidance, for companionship, for unconditional love. And no matter how fast the time passes, no matter where her wings take her, no matter how grown up she gets,  I am so hoping she will keep needing me for all of that. Today, tomorrow and for always.

I recently shared a story and a project on my Babble Voices blog Reframed that relates to the subject of my daughter and how hard I know it is growing up and being a teenager. If I can continually repeat the uplifting, inspiring and encouraging messages I believe she needs to hear, then I know I’m being the best advocate I can be for her. Plus, I know (and she knows) that these messages ring true even when I’m unable to keep my cool on the tough days. Thankfully, the Rhonna Designs app offers all of these amazing messages and more. It’s a photo app dream come true and helped me say the things I always want to say to my daughter. The collection of cards I made for her (and the ‘how-to” part) can be found at Babble. I also made cards for her that are OF her. using pictures of her that I love, paired with words that I know fit her to a T. These few probably mean the most to her. And to me. Sniff sniff.

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